NRC to change foreign ownership so NRG and Toshiba can fire up South Texas Nuclear Project?

Not just EDF and Calvert Cliffs that would be enabled by the current NRC rule-changing comment period. In April NRC denied a license to NRG and Toshiba Corp. (aka Nuclear Innovation North America, or NINA) for two new reactors at the South Texas Project nuclear facility outside Bay City; the same facility where STNP 2 had a fire in January. The reason for denial was the same as for EDF and Calvert Cliffs:

“At this point NINA from our perspective is foreign owned, controlled or dominated,” said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell. “Until such time as NINA can come up with a different corporate ownership structure we would not be able to approve their license.”

That was a rather disingenuous statement, considering that already on 11 March 2013, two years to the day after TEPCO’s Fukushima disaster, NRC directed staff to start a process that could change those foreign ownership rules. TEPCO pull out of STNP after Fukushima, and NRG supposedly cancelled the project, but apparently NRG later went in with Toshiba to do it anyway. And now NRC proposes to change the rules to let that happen.

STNP 3 and 4 are, like Calvert Cliffs 3, still marked as “Under Review” instead of “Suspended” in NRC’s Combined License Applications for New Reactors. Somebody remind me why the NRC bothers having a program for Regulatory Oversight for New Reactors?

Anyway, you can comment online until 2 August or in person in Maryland 19 June 2013. Public comment (and lawsuits) by organizations and individuals eventually got SoCal Edison to close San Onofre for good, so it could do the same for Calvert Cliffs and STNP.


PS: Owed to Kay Patrick.